In the final blog of this series, I wanted to share with you a music video that has very recently been released. The song is written and performed by two of my friends – Tina Kopa and Catherine Wood. Together they form Sounds of Soul. The song was written about Natalie Benhayon – a woman who lives true to her essence. A woman who has inspired women all over the world (including me) to always put ourselves - the woman - first, to constantly deepen our relationship with ourselves, to express everything that we are, to not hold back, to bring it all.
Natalie is the woman in the film clip. You can feel in the way that she moves that she has a deep love, care and appreciation for herself. She knows who she is and honours this in all that she does. Her movements are graceful, sexy and in flow.
All of this possible because of one choice after another to honour the woman that she is. To not be ruled by societies expectations or ideals of how a woman should be. To express what is there to be expressed. To act on the impulses she receives. To not hold back.
Enjoy, it is indeed so very lovely.
(You can buy the album at https://www.soundsofsoul.com.au/ - I highly recommend it, so much sass!)
Where to From Here?
When I finished Part 2 I wasn't sure what was coming next in Part 3... but then it was clear.
I needed to share my Number 1 Life Tip.
So, here it is.
The shower for me is my absolute sacred space. It is, if everything else fails, the place where I commit to coming back to me and making my every movement about loving myself and exploring how much more tender, gentle and loving I can be with myself. How much more of me is there to be expressed. To let go of any hardness. To remind myself that I am simply lovely.
I remember when my son was born and the absolute tenderness and delicateness in which I bathed him in, the way I dressed him, the way I gently moved his tiny legs, and hands, and so very very carefully put his clothing on him. His bath was run so that the temperature was just right. I had extra face washers to put over his body while he was in the bath to support him to feel warm, safe and secure. And I had his towels warmed, ready to wrap him up in at the end of the bath so that his body wasn’t shocked by the cool air when he came out of the warm bath.
Every movement was deliberate and conscious, ensuring that he was held and loved throughout the whole process. I knew how precious and sacred he was.
Then one day it occurred to me – why don’t I take this time and care with myself? Am I not as deserving of the love, care and attention that I gave to him? Am I not also this precious and sacred?
So I began to experiment with it. Setting the shower temperature just right before getting in. Having everything I needed, right there in the shower, right where I need it. Washing my body with the same delicateness and gentleness that I was washing my son with. Enjoying the feeling of the warm water running through my hair and over my body. Heating towels ready for me when I got out of the shower. Using every moment in the shower as an opportunity to just love me.
It was a bit rocky to start with – especially with a young babe always nearby, potentially crying because I’d had to put him down for a moment to get in the shower. But mostly it was my own thoughts, my own hurried-ness, my own desire to get on with something else and hurry through the shower as quick as I could, that made it rocky. My own lack of self-worth we could call it. There were (many) days where I ‘couldn’t be bothered’ with the warm towels, or even being present in the shower!, days where I rushed, days where thinking about what I had on that day and all of the things that I needed to achieve and get done were my priority and I didn’t give myself a look in.
Yet, even in all the rockiness and imperfectness, I was start to give myself space to be with me. I was giving myself the space to connect to myself, to love myself (even if at the time I didn’t feel particularly loving towards myself) and to nurture me.
And gradually, things began to shift.
What was happening was simple. This space in the day for me was opening me up more to what was already so naturally within me. It was giving me the space to connect to, and honour, me - as a woman. A moment in the day where I said ‘I’m a woman first, before I am anything else, and I deserve to be cared for’.
That space then allowed me to feel more of the love that I am. The consistency of doing this over time supported me to accept that I am that love, and not all of the other ideas/images/pictures that I held myself in.
What was magical about this was… what started as just a 5-10 minute (15 maybe!) shower, began to filter out to other areas of my life. What started as many days of forgetting my commitment to me in the shower, developed into days where I had not just committed to me being with me in the shower, but while I was washing the dishes, cleaning the house, at work, at the supermarket, in the car, while I was exercising – everywhere.
The love that I began to know myself as then expanded to me feeling how deeply beautiful, sensitive, lovely, tender, delicate, joyful, playful and super sassy I am. And did I mention sexy?
And to now, absolutely knowing without a doubt in my body, that there is not one single thing in this world that is more important than me honouring the woman that I am first and foremost.
From this, I am now more open, loving and steady as a mother. I am more focused, committed and ‘switched on’ at work. I am more honest, open and real in my relationships. I have so much more space in my day and am capable of doing more than I ever thought was possible. I don't need as much sleep and more often than not - I don't feel the need to check out at the end of the day with alcohol, TV or other. I don't need entertainment to stimulate me or music to 'take me on an emotional journey'. I am so very content being with me. And mostly, I know that I am completely imperfect with all of it and that that is very OK.
So… I encourage you to give it a try. There hasn’t been one person that I’ve suggested it to that hasn’t commented on how different their day (&/or their sleep) was by having given it a try.
With enormous thanks to Natalie Benhayon & Serge Benhayon for inspiring me to connect to and live the woman that I am.
Ideals, Beliefs & Pictures
In our first blog in this series, I posed the questions – do we buy things to keep up with the latest trends, or do we buy to honour our own personal style? And do we buy things that support us or do we buy things that purely look good?
My feeling is that for most, our purchases are being driven by external influences and not as a true honouring of ourselves.
I recently had a woman selecting jewellery from my stall at a market. She was very taken by the silver items but kept moving back to the gold. She then mentioned that she had always preferred silver jewellery but her partner preferred gold. As a result, she had started wearing both.
Not an uncommon occurrence – and in situations similar to this, it would also not be uncommon for the woman to start wearing only gold. How many times have you heard a woman say “I really want to get my hair cut but my husband/boyfriend/partner prefers it long”? I’ve heard it more times than I would care to recall and I’m pretty sure I’ve once said the exact same thing.
Our choices on what we wear and how we wear it are being constantly influenced by everything and everyone around us. Our look or style – be it glamourous, understated, chic, casual, sporty spice, grunge or ‘I really don’t care what I look like - look how much I don’t care! See these baggy clothes that don’t fit me properly, that’s how much I don’t care’ – is all to either meet the expectations of the world around us, or to challenge it.
We then take on these expectations and add this together with other life events, situations or circumstances we form beliefs, values, opinions, ideals, pictures and images 'of our own' about who we are, how we should be and what we should look like. This is all then directly reflected in our choices of what we wear and how we wear it. And indeed, how we present ourselves to the world.
So where are we in all of that?
My feeling is we are buried somewhere underneath it all. Itching and busting to come out of it all. Desperate to feel, and live connected to, the true woman (or man) that we are. Busying ourselves and keeping ourselves distracted from feeling the emptiness that results in not living in connection with ones self.
In Part 3 we will look at how we can support ourselves to live truer to ourselves, establish a connection with ourselves, what that could look like and what might possibly come from that.
When we shop for clothing, accessories or even make up – do we buy things to keep up with the latest trends, or do we buy to honour our own personal style? Do we buy things that support us or do we buy things that purely look good, or happen to be the latest trend? Do we even know what it means to buy things ‘that support us’ (I’m not just talking about a Berlei sports bra!).
By support I mean - does our clothing sit well on our bodies, feel comfortable to move in, confirm the woman you are, reflect your own inner beauty, keep you warm, allow you to move in the way that you need to move in in those clothes, do not grab or pinch or make you feel uncomfortable? Does our make up feel nice on our skin, match our complexion and confirm who we are, or does it leave your skin feeling dull, damp, itchy, blotchy? Are we wearing lip colours that feel right for us and suit us, or are we wearing the latest shade of red that we saw someone in a magazine wearing? & when it comes to accessories – do we wear things that reflect and confirm the woman we are, or do we wear things to make us stand out more, embellish us, take away from our natural beauty or perhaps don’t even suit us?
These are interesting points to ponder. We are so often fed pictures and images of who a woman is supposed to be, what we should be wearing and unfortunately, more commonly these days – what we shouldn’t be wearing. There are magazine pages dedicated to rating, naming and shaming women for their choice of garment at a particular awards night.
Be it from magazines, TV, movies, billboards, our mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, our circle of friends, partners, – we are given constant messages about who we should be as women and what we are supposed to wear and look like.
This is translated not only into the way we dress, the accessories we choose or the way we wear our make up, but in fact, our every movement, thought and action. Our lives become dictated by these images and ideals and leads us into an endless rat race of trying to fit these – at the constant expense of our own selves and what feels true for us.
Feels like a pretty miserable way to live to me.
What if, there was a way to live where you could say ‘to hell with the expectations, this is me, and I’m going to make my every movement a commitment to honouring me, to going deeper with my relationship with me – understanding myself more’ and every movement, action, thought, purchase etc – comes from that?
How would that impact the way that we moved? How would that impact the purchases we made? How would that impact our clothing/makeup/accessory choices?
In Part 2 of this series, we will explore this topic further…